Wyoming Liberty Group

We here at the Wyoming Liberty Group strive to bring you the latest information. Please enjoy the blogs and comment on them often.

Steve Klein serves as attorney and research counsel with the Wyoming Liberty Group and Pillar of Law Institute, focusing on free speech and criminal law.  Steve has co-authored numerous amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs for state and federal courts in several important free speech cases, advocating in favor of political speech across the country. In 2014, Steve was co-counsel in three successful free speech cases in Wyoming.
In the 2015 Wyoming Legislative Session, Steve lobbied on behalf of reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture law. 2015 Senate File 14 passed the entire legislature 80-9 before being vetoed by Governor Mead. Steve continues to lobby on behalf of reform in the 2015-16 legislative interim.
Steve holds a bachelors degree in politics from Hillsdale College and a law degree from Ave Maria School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of the Ave Maria Law Review and President of the Ave Maria Federalist Society. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Michigan.

Wyoming Committee to Consider Drone Regulation

Next month (May 12 and 13) the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee will meet in Rawlins in the first of three meetings between the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions. One of the topics they will address is drones, more technically known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS). I appreciate the committee taking this up, since bills addressing law enforcement use of drones were introduced in our legislature in both this past session and the 2013 session.

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Wyoming Attorney General Files Brief for Gun Rights

Last month, Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael filed an excellent gun rights brief with the United States Supreme Court. Since the AG filed the brief on February 12, just after the beginning of the 2014 Budget Session, I regretfully did not notice it.  (From a quick search, it does not appear local media picked up on it, either, although the Associated Press put out an article that Fox News published.)

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Publius Was Not a PAC

The latest issue of the Wyoming Law Review, the legal publication of the University of Wyoming College of Law, features our article “Publius Was Not a PAC: Reconciling Anonymous Political Speech, the First Amendment, and Campaign Finance Disclosure.”  The article is now available on the Law Review’s website.

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Andy Johnson’s EPA Case a Quick Test of Senate File 75

When the Environmental Protection Agency decided to go after Andy Johnson, they probably did not believe they were throwing a rock at a hornet’s nest.  Since the story broke last week that the EPA is threatening Johnson, a welder who lives with his family on an 8-acre plot near Fort Bridger, with $75,000 a day in fines for constructing a pond on his property that is supplied by a small creek, the uproar has gone nationwide.  As Johnson points out, if his pond—a pristine home to wild fish and source of clean water for his horses—is in any way a hazard to the environment, what isn’t?

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Fourth Amendment Follies Coming Soon to Wyoming

Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado under state law for not only medicinal but recreational use by people over 21, a new industry is taking off. As reported earlier this week by the Denver Post

“Commercial real estate tracker Xceligent Inc. estimates that marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facilities in [Denver] occupy about 4.5 million square feet — the equivalent of 78 football fields.”

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Wyoming Case Another Victory for Land Rights

Today the United States Supreme Court decided the case Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, ruling with an 8-1 majority that abandoned railroad easements under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 do not necessarily transfer to the government upon abandonment but instead to the landowner.

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Friend of the Court Jester

“This case concerns amici because the law at issue undermines the First Amendment’s protection of the serious business of making politics funny.”

So begins a friend-of-the-court (amici) brief from our friends at the Cato Institute and P.J. O’Rourke—“America’s leading political satirist”—in the case Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, which is pending at the United States Supreme Court. The case is a challenge to an Ohio law that punishes false campaign speech, and the brief hilariously illustrates the pitfalls of such laws. Specifically, the brief utilizes O’Rourke’s legendary wit to show how easily political satire can be censored under the threat of a bureaucrat labeling it “false” speech:

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